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Axemen stun Burnaby Lake in milestone upset

The Sea to Sky-based rugby club has won its first-ever Division 1 playoff fixture

The Axemen were not fooling around on April Fool's Day. 

On April 1, the Sea to Sky's own rugby club authored a titanic playoff upset by felling Burnaby Lake 24-21. Gus Murphy, Mark Charette, Stuart Jones and player/head coach Steve List all scored tries, while Ian Skuse made good on two conversion kicks to help propel his squad to its first-ever BC Rugby Division 1 postseason win. 

"Burnaby Lake did not disappoint and took us all the way to the final whistle," said Axemen representatives in a statement released to social media. "What a massive day for the club, and one we'll always remember." 

It's truly a coming-of-age moment for an organization that made its Division 1 debut last fall after securing the Division 2 title. The Axemen responded to a three-game losing streak in February and March with three straight victories over Surrey, Nanaimo and Trinity Western University to burst into the playoffs as a no. 8 seed.

"While the results from those home games were obviously great, the real success was the great turnout, sideline support and continued growth of the club," said manager Cian Starogardzki. "We fielded a record number of players for those games." 

Their opponent, Burnaby Lake, was the top-ranked unit in the Premier Reserve division (a level above Division 1). The Blue and White had pulled off an undefeated nine-win regular season, but fell short when it mattered most. 

It's already been a banner campaign for the Axemen, which sent two of their own to Team Canada in early November and have been committed to fostering local interest in rugby. Now, the eight-year-old club continues to put itself on the map by besting a more established opponent with nearly 30 years of history.

Next up are the quarterfinals on April 15, when List and his trailblazing teammates are set to face off against the Nanaimo Hornets on Vancouver Island.

In other news, the Axemen's Division 3 roster also finished its regular season on a high note, putting together consecutive wins against United RFC and Nanaimo. 

More information is available on the Axemen's website.